Diabetes Effects on Your Body's Systems

Diabetes Effects on Your Body’s Systems

Diabetes mellitus is a metabolic disorder where insufficient production of the hormone insulin or a resistance to its actions in the body can result in high blood sugar levels. Insulin is needed to get sugar into cells of the body, where it is used for energy. When sugar can not get into cells, it stays in the blood at high levels. Complications of diabetes arise from long-term direct exposure to high blood sugar level. The cardiovascular, nervous, visual and urinary systems are most frequently affected by chronically high blood sugars.

Cardiovascular System

The cardiovascular system includes the heart and blood vessels. High blood glucose and increased blood fat levels frequently found in individuals with diabetes contribute to fatty deposits called plaques on the inner walls of blood vessels, causing inflammation. This leads to reduced blood flow and hardening of the blood vessels called atherosclerosis. High blood sugar level also leads to glycation, where sugars connect to proteins, making them sticky. This takes place on proteins found in blood vessels, likewise resulting in inflammation. When this occurs in the heart, it can cause cardiovascular disease. According to a 2016 report from the American Heart Association, 68 percent of individuals with diabetes older than 65 die of heart disease.

Nervous System

Nerve damage called diabetic neuropathy is common in individuals with diabetes. Symptoms normally appear after numerous years however may exist when diabetes is detected, as the disease may have gone unnoticed for many years. Diabetic nerve damage called peripheral neuropathy is most typical in the legs and feet. Inning accordance with a 2005 declaration by the American Diabetes Association, as much as 50 percent of individuals with diabetes have peripheral neuropathy. This usually starts as numbness or tingling that advances to loss of pain and cold and heat understanding in feet or hands, making it challenging to pick up an injury. Another kind of nerve damage called diabetic free neuropathy impacts nerves regulating the heart, blood vessels, and gastrointestinal and other systems. This condition can lead to problems with blood pressure, heart rhythm and digestion, among others.

See also: 50 Interesting Facts about Diabetes

Visual System

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that in 2005 to 2008, 28.5 percent of grownups with diabetes 40 years or older had diabetic retinopathy. This eye disease is caused by high blood sugar levels causing blood vessel damage and fluid leak in the vision-sensing part of the eye called the retina. Diabetic macular edema is a complication of diabetic retinopathy wherein the center of the retina, which is responsible for in-depth vision, is impacted. These conditions can eventually lead to loss of sight. High blood sugar level can also lead to an increased risk of cataracts and glaucoma. These eye conditions occur earlier and more frequently in individuals with diabetes, compared to those without the disease.

Urinary System

In 2011, CDC reported that diabetes was the primary reason for kidney failure in 44 percent of people newly detected with the condition. High levels of blood glucose can harm the kidneys. The result is a disease known as diabetic nephropathy that can eventually cause kidney failure. High blood glucose levels at first damage the capillary in the kidneys. As diabetic nephropathy advances, there is thickening of kidney tissue and scarring. When the kidneys are harmed, they can not filter the blood correctly. This leads to waste and fluid buildup in the blood, and leakage of essential blood proteins into the urine.

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